Even if you use glasses (the kind you put on your face, not the kind you drink out of), you still visit your eye doctor yearly, right? Because, over time, your eyes change. Nothing in your body is fixed, not your eyes and not, as it happens, your ears either. That’s why, even after you’ve purchased hearing aids, it’s essential to consistently get your ears examined just like you would with your eyes.
Unfortunately, many individuals miss those routine check-ups. Maybe they’ve been too busy enjoying their lives to get back in to see the doctor. Or maybe, work has been particularly difficult this year. Or maybe you’ve just decided to not go back in because you’re so pleased with your hearing aids. That should be a good thing, right?
Getting your hearing tested
Let’s use Daphne as our fictional stand-in. Daphne has been noticing some red flags related to her hearing for a while now. She keeps turning the TV up. She has problems understanding conversations at after-work happy hours in noisy restaurants. And because she enjoys taking care of herself, and she’s smart, she schedules a hearing exam.
Daphne makes certain to follow all of the steps to manage her hearing impairment: she gets fitted for new hearing aids and has them precisely calibrated, and then goes back to her normal routine.
Issue solved? Well, maybe not completely. Going in for a screening allowed her to recognize her hearing loss early and that’s excellent. But for most people with hearing impairment, even a minor one, follow-up care becomes even more important in the long run. Daphne would be doing herself a favor by keeping routine appointments. However, one study found that only around 33% of senior citizens with hearing aids get regular check-ups so Daphne isn’t by herself.
If you already have hearing aids, why do you need check-ups?
Remember when we used the glasses metaphor earlier? Just because Daphne uses hearing aids now doesn’t mean her hearing will become fixed and stop changing. Her hearing aids will have to be adjusted to counter those changes. Any hearing changes can be discovered early with routine monitoring.
And there are other reasons for having routine hearing exams once you get hearing aids. Some of the most common reasons to ensure you make it to your next appointment include:
- Hearing deterioration: Your hearing could continue to worsen even if you use hearing aids. Frequently, this deterioration of your hearing is quite slow and without routine screenings, you probably won’t even notice it. Proper adjustments to your hearing aids can often slow hearing loss.
- Hearing aid calibration: Your hearing changes in small ways, and while your general hearing may remain stable, these small changes may require you to get regular hearing examinations. Your hearing aid could become less and less reliable if you skip this calibration.
- Your fit may change: Because your ears are always changing, it’s entirely possible that how your hearing aids fit around and in your ears will change. Making certain your hearing aids continue to fit properly is a significant part of your regular check-ups.
Dangers and hurdles
The greatest problem here is that eventually, the hearing aids Daphne is wearing will stop working the way they’re meant to, so she’ll get frustrated with them and stop using them altogether. Over time, hearing loss can be slowed by wearing hearing aids. Your hearing will deteriorate faster if you quit wearing your hearing aids and you probably won’t even notice it.
If you want your hearing aids to keep working efficiently, regular check-ups are going to be your best bet in terms of achieving that. Yearly hearing assessments or screenings can help you make sure your hearing aids are working as they should and that your hearing stays protected.